HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Human Trafficking leading organised crime needs bursting

Cases of people being conned in endless job scams are rampant.

In Summary

• The main facilitating factors for such crimes are weak enforcement of existing laws, low social protection mechanism to prevent human trafficking, lengthy litigation processes.

• Globally, human trafficking is considered the second most organized crime after the gun trade.

The business of human trafficking. February 2, 2016.
SOLD: The business of human trafficking. February 2, 2016.
Image: FILE

The levels of human trafficking now being reported in some parts of Kenya as in the rest of the world, coupled with organ trafficking cases is a major organised crime that needs attention from authorities and the community in Kenya.

Cases of people being conned in endless job scams including to the Middle East are rampant, and in addition to the loss of money, the few that make it, end up being forced or duped into getting their body organs removed and sold.

The lucrative criminal enterprise in human trafficking is not only for jobs, but trade in human organs that is controlled by big cartels in and outside the country. This human rights violation must end, through serious security operations and a keen criminal justice system.

The main facilitating factors for such crimes are weak enforcement of existing laws, low social protection mechanism to prevent human trafficking, lengthy litigation processes that frustrate victims from seeking redress, fledgling reintegration services exposing victims to the trafficker, and community stigma.

Also intertwined by this crime are money laundering, tax evasion, and illegal financial flows that seem to frustrate the country from achieving its targets.

Reports indicate severally that Kenya is a major source and player in this dangerous trade. The US State Department report on Trafficking in Persons (2019 Report) indicated that Kenya is a destination source and conduit for human trafficking as the country attracts vulnerable individuals from her neighbours fleeing poverty, armed conflicts, natural calamities, and lack of income-earning opportunities.

The United Nations early this year on a post-dated February 28th, 2021 through its online platforms issued an alert cautioning the world on Organ trafficking, especially in the Middle East.

Globally, human trafficking is considered the second most organized crime after the gun trade. It earns traffickers more than drug trafficking, with the trio often going hand in hand.

Many suspicious employment bureaus in Kenya lure Kenyans into seeking employment abroad, exploiting the vulnerable youth that gave failed to get opportunities in the country have become victims, and photos of suffering and enslaved Kenyans especially in the Middle East are common.

Kenya has become a major player in the business as human smugglers use Kenya as a route to other destinations., especially along Moyale, Marsabit, Isiolo, Meru, Nairobi, Ngong, Namanga, Lamu, Malindi among other areas.

A report released in August 2020 by Trace, a Kenya organisation working on matters t Human Trafficking, Coastal Kenya especially Lamu and Tana river (Garsen) Counties are the most affected areas.  It indicated that the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic created conditions especially economic challenges opening doors for more victims through technology via online job recruitment scums and is also associated with recruitment into extremist groups in the region.

The other notable forms of exploitative cultural practices include FMG, early pregnancies, and early Marriages, which place girls in particular in the vulnerable positions of exploitative relationships. Young males are equally at risk of becoming victims of trafficking in Jihadist armed conflicts in neighbouring Somalia.

Gender-based violence and structural exploitation of women has seen close to 2,000 to 3,000 children in each of the 47 counties become mothers in the past 12 months under coronavirus pandemic.  The criminal justice system has not helped much on such cases of defilement of children, while tradition has also frustrated efforts to protect and promote these violations of rights.

A report on the Human Trafficking situation in Coastal Kenya Region published by International Organisation for Migration Kenya Office in 2018 recommended that there is a serious need to sensitise the community, the media, and stakeholders on dangers and threats posed by human trafficking.